Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS7874487 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 11/257,411
Publication date25 Jan 2011
Filing date24 Oct 2005
Priority date24 Oct 2005
Fee statusPaid
Also published asCN101346729A, CN101346729B, CN102419814A, CN102419814B, DE112006002867T5, US20070090193, US20110080729, WO2007050454A2, WO2007050454A3, WO2007050454A9
Publication number11257411, 257411, US 7874487 B2, US 7874487B2, US-B2-7874487, US7874487 B2, US7874487B2
InventorsLaurens Nunnink, William H Equitz
Original AssigneeCognex Technology And Investment Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Integrated illumination assembly for symbology reader
US 7874487 B2
Abstract
This provides a plurality of novel features that can be applied variously to a reader. In one embodiment, the light pipe is constructed from durable polycarbonate for increased shock resistance and can define a rectangular cross section. The chamfered end of the light pipe is textured or frosted to further diffuse refracted light passing through the end so as to present a more even effect. The conical/tapered diffuser within the light pipe is illuminated by a reflector with a white textured surface that reflects a plurality of rearward-directed illumination sources back into the diffuser. The reflector can define a predetermined cross section that directs further light into the forwardmost, remote regions of the diffuser to generate a better spread of light and alleviate spotting effects. The textured surface on the chamfered light pipe end can be employed to better project indicator light. The illumination sources are arranged in a ring at the inner end of the pipe, and can be multi-colored sources that respond to the controller to project and appropriate color and/or blink in an appropriate pattern to indicate various conditions, such as read success or failure. The controller is adapted to provide indications between image acquisitions. The controller can operate individual portions of the ring so that only corresponding portions of the light pipe perimeter are illuminated in a particular color (quadrants, for example) at a given time. Different quadrants may be simultaneously illuminated in different colors in one example.
Images(18)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(41)
1. An illumination assembly for a mark reader comprising:
a light pipe arranged in a surrounding relationship to an interior area through which at least a portion of a mark is detectable having a distal end that is chamfered and includes a diffusive surface texture on the outer surface, wherein light transmitted though the light pipe is internally reflected along the pipe and is internally reflected at the chamfered end through a wall of the light pipe facing the interior area as dark field illumination and is refracted onto the surface at the chamfered end as bright field illumination.
2. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein the light pipe is constructed from polycarbonate.
3. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a plurality of illumination sources arranged in a ring in optical communication with the light pipe, the illumination sources being interconnected with a controller that is adapted to project illumination from the illumination sources so as to indicate a predetermined status of the reader in times between instances of illumination of the surface in which an image of the surface is acquired.
4. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein the illumination sources comprise multi-colored LEDs that selectively project each of a plurality of colors at pre-determined times to indicate the predetermined status.
5. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein the controller is adapted to project at least two colors on each of adjacent sections of the light pipe simultaneously so as to indicate the predetermined status.
6. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein the controller is adapted to cause the illumination sources to blink so as to indicate the predetermined status.
7. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a tapered diffuser located within an interior perimeter of the light pipe, the tapered diffuser being in optical communication with a reflector that receives light from a plurality of rearward-directed illumination sources that project in a direction opposite a direction toward which light from the chamfered end projects toward the surface.
8. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 7 wherein the reflector includes a surface profile adapted to direct light to a remote region of the diffuser proximate the chamfered end.
9. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 8 wherein the reflector includes a plurality of steps, at least one of the steps focusing a portion of the light toward the remote region.
10. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 7 wherein the rearward-directed illumination sources project light through the diffuser onto the surface in a color that differs from a color projected from the chamfered end to illuminate the surface during image acquisition.
11. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 10 further comprising a filter that allows the color from the diffuser to pass and that prevents the color from the chamfered end from being retransmitted by the diffuser.
12. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein at least one of the interior wall and the chamfered end includes a diffusive surface texture to reduce spotting by discrete illumination sources.
13. An illumination assembly for a mark reader comprising:
a light pipe in optical communication with a ring of illumination sources, the light pipe arranged in a surrounding relationship to an interior area through which at least a portion of a mark is detectable and projecting light in a forward direction from a forward end of the light pipe; and
a tapered diffuser located within an interior perimeter of the light pipe, the tapered diffuser being in optical communication with a reflector that receives light from a plurality of rearward-directed illumination sources that project in a direction opposite the forward direction.
14. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 13 wherein the reflector includes a surface profile adapted to direct light to a remote region of the diffuser proximate the chamfered end.
15. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 14 wherein the reflector includes a plurality of steps, at least one of the steps focusing a portion of the light toward the remote region.
16. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 13 wherein the rearward-directed illumination sources project light though the diffuser onto the surface in a color that differs from a color projected from the chamfered end to illuminate the surface during image acquisition.
17. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 16 further comprising a filter that allows the color from the diffuser to pass and that prevents the color from the chamfered end from being retransmitted by the diffuser.
18. An illumination assembly for a mark reader comprising:
a light pipe that projects light from a ring of illumination sources onto a surface, the light pipe arranged in a surrounding relationship to a passage through which an imager views the surface having the mark; and
wherein the illumination sources are interconnected with a controller that is adapted to project illumination from the illumination sources so as to indicate a predetermined status of the reader in times between instances of illumination of the surface in which an image of the surface is acquired.
19. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 18 wherein the illumination sources comprise multi-colored LEDs that selectively project each of a plurality of colors at predetermined times to indicate the predetermined status.
20. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 19 wherein the controller is adapted to project at least two colors on each of adjacent sections of the light pipe simultaneously so as to indicate the predetermined status.
21. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 20 wherein the controller is adapted to cause the illumination sources to blink so as to indicate the predetermined status.
22. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 18 wherein a distal end of the light pipe includes a chamfered end and at least one of the chamfered end and an interior wall of the light pipe opposite the chamfered end includes a diffusive surface texture to reduce spoiling by the ring illumination sources.
23. An illumination assembly for a mark reader disposed along an optical viewing axis comprising:
a light pipe defined by at least four adjacent sides including a first opposing pair of sides and a second opposing pair of sides, the light pipe including a chamfered edge at a distal end that directs light from a ring light source at the proximal end onto a surface as dark field; and
wherein a first spacing between the first opposing pair of the sides has a length different than length of a second spacing between the second opposing pair of the sides.
24. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 23 wherein the light pipe includes a diffuser positioned within an interior defined by the light pipe that projects direct diffuse illumination.
25. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 23 wherein at least one of the chamfered edge and an interior edge of the light pipe opposite the chamfered edge includes a diffusive surface thereon.
26. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 25 further comprising an illumination controller adapted to project illumination in at least a first color from the ring so as to provide a first status signal at the chamfered edge.
27. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 26 wherein the controller is adapted to project illumination in a second color, different than the first color from the ring so as to provide a second status signal at the chamfered edge.
28. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 23 wherein the first opposing pair of sides and the second opposing pair of sides define collectively an approximate shape of an ellipse.
29. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 23 wherein the first opposing pair of sides and the second opposing pair of sides collectively define a rectangle having corners between adjacent sides.
30. An illumination assembly for a mark reader comprising:
a light pipe arranged in a surrounding relationship to an interior area through which at least a portion of a mark is detectable, the light pipe having a chamfered distal end that includes a chamfered surface, the chamfered surface having a diffusive surface texture, and
wherein light transmitted through the light pipe is internally reflected along the pipe and is internally reflected at the chamfered distal end through an interior wall of the light pipe facing the interior area as dark field illumination and is refracted by the chamfered distal end as bright field illumination.
31. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 30 wherein the light pipe is constructed from polycarbonate.
32. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 30 further comprising a plurality of illumination sources arranged in a ring in optical communication with the light pipe, the illumination sources being interconnected with a controller that is adapted to project illumination from the illumination sources so as to indicate a predetermined status of the reader in times between instances of illumination of a surface in which an image of the surface is acquired.
33. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 32 wherein the illumination sources comprise multi-colored LEDs that selectively project each of a plurality of colors at pre-determined times to indicate the predetermined status.
34. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 33 wherein the controller is adapted to project at least two colors on each of adjacent sections of the light pipe simultaneously so as to indicate the predetermined status.
35. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 33 wherein the controller is adapted to cause the illumination sources to blink so as to indicate the predetermined status.
36. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 30 further comprising a tapered diffuser located within an interior perimeter of the light pipe, the tapered diffuser being in optical communication with a reflector that receives light from a plurality of rearward-directed illumination sources that project in a direction opposite a direction toward which light from the chamfered distal end projects toward a surface.
37. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 36 wherein the reflector includes a surface profile adapted to direct light to a remote region of the diffuser proximate the chamfered distal end.
38. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 37 wherein the reflector includes a plurality of steps, at least one of the steps focusing a portion of the light toward the remote region.
39. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 36 wherein the rearward-directed illumination sources project light through the diffuser onto the surface in a color that differs from a color projected from the chamfered end to illuminate the surface during image acquisition.
40. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 39 further comprising a filter that allows the color from the diffuser to pass and that prevents the color from the chamfered distal end from being retransmitted by the diffuser.
41. The illumination assembly as set forth in claim 30 wherein at least one of the interior wall and the chamfered distal end includes a diffusive surface texture to reduce spotting by discrete illumination sources.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to machine vision systems and symbology readers that employ machine vision and more particularly to illuminators for the same.

2. Background Information

Machine vision systems use image acquisition devices that include camera sensors to deliver information on a viewed subject. The system then interprets this information according to a variety of algorithms to perform a programmed decision-making and/or identification function. For an image to be most-effectively acquired by a sensor in the visible, and near-visible light range, the subject should be properly illuminated.

In the example of symbology reading (also commonly termed “barcode” scanning) using an image sensor, proper illumination is highly desirable. Symbology reading entails the aiming of an image acquisition sensor (CMOS camera, CCD, etc.) at a location on an object that contains a symbol (a “barcode”), and acquiring an image of that symbol. The symbol contains a set of predetermined patterns that represent an ordered group of characters or shapes from which an attached data processor (for example, a microcomputer) can derive useful information about the object (e.g. its serial number, type, model, price, etc.). Symbols/barcodes are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Two of the most commonly employed symbol types used in marking and identifying objects are the so-called one-dimensional barcode, consisting of a line of vertical stripes of varying width and spacing, and the so-called two-dimensional barcode consisting of a two-dimensional array of dots or rectangles.

By way of background FIG. 1 shows an exemplary scanning system 100 adapted for handheld operation. An exemplary handheld scanning appliance or handpiece 102 is provided. It includes a grip section 104 and a body section 106. An image formation system 151, shown in phantom, can be controlled and can direct image data to an on-board embedded processor 109. This processor can include a scanning software application 113 by which lighting is controlled, images are acquired and image data is interpreted into usable information (for example, alphanumeric strings derived from the symbols (such as the depicted two-dimensional barcode image 195). The decoded information can be directed via a cable 111 to a PC or other data storage device 112 having (for example) a display 114, keyboard 116 and mouse 118, where it can be stored and further manipulated using an appropriate application 121. Alternatively, the cable 111 can be directly connected to an interface in the scanning appliance and an appropriate interface in the computer 112. In this case the computer-based application 121 performs various image interpretation/decoding and lighting control functions as needed. The precise arrangement of the handheld scanning appliance with respect to an embedded processor, computer or other processor is highly variable. For example, a wireless interconnect can be provided in which no cable 111 is present. Likewise, the depicted microcomputer can be substituted with another processing device, including an onboard processor or a miniaturized processing unit such as a personal digital assistant or other small-scale computing device.

The scanning application 113 can be adapted to respond to inputs from the scanning appliance 102. For example, when the operator toggles a trigger 122 on the hand held scanning appliance 102, an internal camera image sensor (that is part of the image formation system 151) acquires an image of a region of interest 131 on an object 105. The exemplary region of interest includes a two-dimensional symbol 195 that can be used to identify the object 105. Identification and other processing functions are carried out by the scanning application 113, based upon image data transmitted from the hand held scanning appliance 102 to the processor 109. A visual indicator 141 can be illuminated by signals from the processor 109 to indicate a successful read and decode of the symbol 195.

In reading symbology or other subjects of interest, the type of illumination employed is of concern. Where symbology and/or other viewed subjects are printed on a flat surface with contrasting ink or paint, a diffuse, high-angle “bright field” illumination may best highlight these features for the sensor. By high-angle it is meant, generally, light that strikes the subject nearly perpendicularly (normal) or at an angle that is typically no more than about 45 degrees from perpendicular (normal) to the surface of the item being scanned. Such illumination is subject to substantial reflection back toward the sensor. By way of example, barcodes and other subjects requiring mainly bright field illumination may be present on a printed label adhered to an item or container, or on a printed field in a relatively smooth area of item or container.

Conversely, where a symbology or other subject is formed on a more-irregular surface, or is created by etching or peening a pattern directly on the surface, the use of highly reflective bright field illumination may be inappropriate. A peened/etched surface has two-dimensional properties that tend to scatter bright field illumination, thereby obscuring the acquired image. Where a viewed subject has such decidedly two-dimensional surface texture, it may be best illuminated with dark field illumination. This is an illumination with a characteristic low angle (approximately 45 degrees or less, for example) with respect to the surface of the subject (i.e. an angle of more than approximately 45 degrees with respect to normal). Using such low-angle, dark field illumination, two-dimensional surface texture is contrasted more effectively (with indents appearing as bright spots and the surroundings as shadow) for better image acquisition.

In other instances of applied symbology a diffuse direct illumination may be preferred. Such illumination is typically produced using a direct-projected illumination source (e.g. light emitting diodes (LEDs)) that passes through a diffuser to generate the desired illumination effect.

To take full advantage of the versatility of a camera image sensor, it is desirable to provide bright field, dark field and diffuse illumination. However, dark field illumination must be presented close to a subject to attain the low incidence angle thereto. Conversely, bright field illumination is better produced at a relative distance to ensure full area illumination.

Commonly assigned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/014,478, entitled HAND HELD SYMBOLOGY READER ILLUMINATION DIFFUSER and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/019,763, entitled LOW PROFILE ILLUMINATION FOR DIRECT PART MARK READERS, both by Laurens W. Nunnink, the teachings of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference, provide techniques for improving the transmission of bright field (high angle) and dark field (low angle) illumination. These techniques include the provision of particular geometric arrangements of direct, bright field LEDs and conical and/or flat diffusers that are placed between bright field illuminators and the subject to better spread the bright field light. The above-incorporated HAND HELD SYMBOLOGY READER ILLUMINATION DIFFUSER further teaches the use of particular colors for improving the illumination applicable to certain types of surfaces. Often, the choice of bright field, dark field, direct or diffuse light is not intuitive to user for many types of surfaces and/or the particular angles at which the reader is directed toward them. In other words, a surface may appear to be best read using dark field illumination, but in practice, bright field is preferred for picking out needed details, especially at a certain viewing angle. Likewise, with handheld readers, the viewing angle is never quite the same from surface to surface (part-to-part) and some viewing angles be better served by bright field while other may be better served by dark field. The above-referenced patent applications contemplate the application of a plurality of illumination types to achieve the best image for a particular surface and viewing angle.

It has been recognized that handheld readers pose a number of unique concerns. At least some of these concerns are shared in relation to fixed readers. For example, the material from which most light pipes are constructed is acrylic (commonly termed “plexiglass”). Acrylic exhibits a high refractive index (approximately 1.58), which is well suited for internal transmission of light down a light pipe. However, acrylic tends to shatter easily in response to impact. This may limit the life and endurance of a handheld reader (particularly a cordless/wireless model) that is expected to occasionally drop and strike a hard floor, perhaps against the light pipe. While the light pipe could be armored with cushioning and external housings, this undesirably increases production costs, weight, obtrusiveness and may optically obscure the pipe.

Moreover, the light pipes described in the above referenced patents may include a chamfered end to project dark field illumination via internal reflection. Refraction through the polished chamfered end also generates direct bright field illumination. The optical clarity of the light pipe and end tends to create a spotlight effect, in which each individual illumination source (red LEDs, for example) is clearly visible on certain surfaces (see FIG. 7 below). This controverts the typical goal of providing an even spread of illumination.

Also, where a conical diffuser is employed to provide an overall source of direct diffuse illumination, prior art devices are limited in their ability to spread light from a few individual illumination sources (LEDs, for example) throughout the diffuser surface, and then onto the subject as diffuse light. Thus, the diffuse light tends to exhibit a characteristic, localized light spot and dark spot effect. Adding further illumination sources to the diffuse section may be limited both by space and the relative cost of illumination sources, particularly where relatively costly blue-colored LEDs are employed.

Further, prior art readers often include visual indicators located at their back, top or another surface that denote the current status of the reader (for example, power on/off, good read, error, bad read, ready, not-ready, etc.). Various information can be presented to the user via different color lights (red/green, for example) and/or via blinking patterns. However, in a production environment, small, rear-mounted or top-mounted indicators may be overlooked or present a distraction while the user tries to focus on the surface being read. A technique for more-conveniently integrating indicators with the user's main point of interest is highly desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art by providing a plurality of novel features that can be applied variously to a reader to improve the illumination performance in both dark field/direct bright field and direct diffuse types of illumination. Further features allow for increased light pipe durability without increasing weight or size and better readability of status indicators by placing such indicators in proximity to the subject and significantly enlarging to overall size of the indicator.

In one embodiment, the light pipe is constructed from durable polycarbonate for increased shock resistance. The chamfered end of the light pipe is textured or frosted to further diffuse refracted light passing through the end so as to present a more even effect. The conical/tapered diffuser within the light pipe is illuminated by a reflector with a white textured surface that reflects a plurality of rearward-directed (opposite the illumination and viewing direction) illumination sources back into the diffuser. The reflector can define a predetermined cross section that directs further light into the forwardmost, remote regions of the diffuser to generate a better overall spread of light and alleviate light and dark spotting effects. The textured surface on the chamfered light pipe end can be employed to better project indicator light. The textured surface can alternatively (or in addition) be applied to the exposed portion of the inner wall adjacent to the distal (forward) end of the pipe.

The illumination sources are arranged in a ring at the inner end of the light pipe, and can be multi-colored sources that respond to the controller to project and appropriate color and/or blink in an appropriate pattern to indicate various conditions, such as read success or failure. Typically the controller is adapted to provide these specialized indications between actual image acquisition, so that the image acquisition is properly illuminated. The controller can operate individual portions of the ring so that only corresponding portions of the light pipe perimeter are illuminated in a particular color (quadrants, for example) at a given time. Different quadrants may be simultaneously illuminated in different colors in one example.

In an illustrative embodiment, the light pipe defines a polygonal (for example rectangular) cross section (with the polygon being generally defined as at least four linear or non-linear sides, joined at corners (that may be rounded) to form a (typically) non-equilateral shape. The chamfered edge on each side is at a fixed angle and thus the differing length of the North-South versus East-West sides (in the case of a rectangle), generates two different distances for convergence of dark field rays, which increases depth of field. Stated differently, the polygon (rectangle) includes at least two pairs of opposing sides and the first pair of opposing sides has a length different than the second pair of opposing sides to generate two differing-distance convergence points for dark field rays.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention description below refers to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1, already described, is a perspective view of a handheld scanning system with integrated illumination according to the prior art;

FIG. 2 is a side cross section of a handheld scanning system that can be employed in connection with the teachings of this invention;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the scanning system of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the illumination assembly and image sensor for the scanning system of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a somewhat schematic side cross section of the sensor and illuminator assembly for use with the scanning system of FIG. 2 detailing the path taken by various illumination types;

FIG. 6 is a somewhat schematic side cross section of the light pipe of the illuminator assembly of FIG. 5 more particularly showing the projection of direct bright field illumination;

FIG. 7 is a diagram showing an illumination effect in which individual illumination sources are projected onto a surface through a polished chamfered light pipe end;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary perspective view of the viewing end of the reader featuring the illumination assembly and having a textured surface on the chamfered light pipe end;

FIG. 9 is a diagram showing an illumination effect achieved on a surface employing a textured chamfered light pipe end in accordance with an embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 10 is a block diagram of the image processor and illumination control circuitry interacting with the sensor, trigger and illumination ring, featuring individual quadrant control and multi-color illumination sources;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary perspective view of the viewing end of the reader showing the textured chamfered light pipe end illuminated in red as an indicator;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary perspective view of the viewing end of the reader showing the textured chamfered light pipe end illuminated in green as an indicator;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary perspective view of the viewing end of the reader showing the textured chamfered light pipe end illuminated in red in predetermined quadrants and green in other predetermined quadrants as an indicator;

FIG. 14 is a schematic side cross section of the, light pipe, diffuser, illumination sources and reflector showing a predetermined reflector geometry so as to increase projection of light along remote regions of the diffuser;

FIG. 15 is a somewhat schematic side cross section of the light pipe of the illuminator assembly detailing the draft angle provided to allow molding of the light pipe and showing an alternative placement of the diffusive surface at the distal end of the light pipe;

FIG. 16 is a schematic diagram of a generalized shape for a rectangular cross section light pipe featuring representations of a North, South, East and West edge;

FIG. 17 is a schematic representation of the convergence of dark field rays from the North and South edges of the light pipe of FIG. 16 showing a first distance thereto;

FIG. 18 is a schematic representation of the convergence of dark field rays from the East and West edges of the light pipe of FIG. 16 showing a first distance thereto; and

FIG. 19 is an exposed perspective view of a light pipe according to an alternate embodiment of this invention defining an elliptical cross section.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT

FIG. 2 shows a cross sectional side view of an illustrative embodiment of the reader 200 according to the present invention. The imager 212 and an illumination board 214 are positioned on a shock-resistant mounting (not shown) within the housing 206. In this exemplary embodiment, the processor module and related functional electronic components are mounted on a processor board 215. The grip portion 202 and the trigger 204 are functionally cooperative with the housing 206 and components of the processor board 215. The grip portion 206 includes a conveniently placed trigger 204 that can be actuated by a finger of the user to initiate the image acquisition and decoding function. More particularly, pressing the trigger causes all types and colors of illumination (as described further below) to be simultaneously projected onto the subject of interest, and also causes corresponding acquisition of an image by the imager.

With brief reference to the illuminator, the illumination board 214 supports a plurality of LEDs 310 that are red in this embodiment (a variety of colors can be used). The LEDs 310 are directed forwardly, toward the opening of the reader. These LEDs are positioned behind a passive light pipe 244 that internally transmits light from the ring of LEDs 310 to a front end 230. In this embodiment, the front end 230 includes a chamfered surface 232. Various examples of a light pipe for use with a reader or similar application are shown and described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/693,626, entitled LIGHT PIPE ILLUMINATION SYSTEM AND METHOD, by William H. Equitz, et al., the teachings of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

Briefly explained, light passes through the extended body of the pipe 244 from the inner end, adjacent to the LEDs 310. The body is formed from a transmissive/transparent substance. As discussed above, one concern for the light pipe is durability and impact resistance. In an embodiment of this invention, the light pipe is constructed from transparent polycarbonate (available under the trade name Makrolon from BASF of Germany, or alternatively Lexan® available from the General Electric Company). This substance can be injection-molded using a liquid resin that is formed into a desired shape as discussed further below. The transmitted light is reflected internally by the angled/chamfered surface 232 of the light pipe 244 to exit at a low angle toward the center optical axis 270. While acrylic displays a superior refractive index (approximately 1.58), it has been recognized that the refractive index of polycarbonate (approximately 1.49) is sufficient to achieve the degree of light transmission and internal reflection employed for dark field illumination in accordance with embodiments of this invention. The inner and/or outer wall surfaces of the light pipe 244 can be coated with opaque paint or another compound to prevent leakage of light into or out of the pipe. In this example, a shield 250 is also provided along the inner surface of the light pipe. One function of the shield 250 is to prevent transmission of diffuse light (described below) in to the light pipe. Another function is to redirect light transmitted from the reflector (see below) back into the diffuser.

In this example, the ring of LEDs 310 acts to produce a red direct bright field effect along with the dark field effect through refraction of some light from the LEDs through the chamfered surface 232. In general, at short reading distances from a surface (<25 mm between the light pipe distal (forward) end 230 and surface), the bright field illumination from the light pipe 230 tends not to interfere with the dark field illumination. The bright field illumination is available, however, for larger reading distances (>25 mm between the end 230 and the surface). This is useful for easy-to-read codes, such as black-and-white printed labels. In alternate embodiments, a separate bright field illuminator can be provided, and as described below. In fact, many available imagers include integral red bright field illuminators. In an alternate embodiment, a separate bright field illuminator can be provided in a discrete color, such as green.

Note that a pair of aiming LEDs 220 (typically emitting green light) are provided. However, these are optional. Such aiming LEDs may be integral with the commercially available image employed herein.

A tether cord 260 provides electrical power to the reader 200, as well as a communication transmission path for the decoded character string of the encoded information, though it is contemplated that the reader 200 can be configured with battery power and wireless communication for complete portable flexibility.

With reference also to FIG. 3, a front view of the reader 200 is shown. The distribution and placement of the individual LEDs (or other appropriate light elements) 310 that transmit light to the light pipe 244 is represented by a series of adjacent Xs positioned around the perimeter of the light pipe 244 in line with the distal end 230. The illustrative LED placement creates a generally uniform lighting effect. The placement of these light elements and others used herein is highly variable. In addition, the addressing of light elements can be controlled so that only certain elements are activated at certain times to create the desired overall dark field illumination intensity and/or bias (e.g. lighter on one side than another) to the dark field illumination effect on the subject. This variable-addressing feature is described further below and is discussed in further detail in the above-incorporated U.S. Patent Applications and in other commonly assigned U.S. patent applications referenced therein.

Reference is now also made to the exploded view of FIG. 4, which further details the components of the overall illuminator assembly with respect to the imager 212. As shown, the various illuminator assembly components, described above have been separated to reveal individual structural details. The imager 212 resides at the left side of the view. The illumination board assembly 214 is located ahead of it. Placed in front of the illumination board 214 and LEDs 310 is the proximal (or base) end 410 of the light pipe 244, which receives transmitted light from the LEDs 310, and internally transmits it to the chamfered distal end 230. A tapered (also loosely termed “conical”) diffuser 280 (refer also to FIG. 2) is nested within the light pipe 244, with a narrowed proximal opening 420 provided adjacent to the imager 212 and a widened distal opening 422 located at the opposing end. In an illustrative embodiment, this diffuser 280 can be constructed from a thin (1-3 millimeter) polymer material with a frosted/textured interior. As noted above, a thin shield 250 is provided against the interior of the light pipe to block the diffuser's transmitted light from entering the light pipe 244. In this manner, the light emitted from the diffuser does not mix with the light pipe's transmission.

Space may be limited in the region between the shield 250 and the inner surface of the diffuser 280. Moreover, it is contemplated in various embodiments to provide a blue color for the diffuse illumination, employing high-output, blue-colored LEDs, which are more costly than the red or green versions. Thus, use of a smaller number of such LEDs is highly desirable. The fewer individual illumination sources employed, the greater the need to spread the light around the diffuser so as to avoid a light and dark spotting effect on the surface of interest. To accomplish the desired spread of diffuse illumination with a minimal number of individual illumination sources, the light projected by the diffuser is provided by a set of (four) rearward-projecting LEDs 282 mounted on the illumination board 214 on a side opposite the ring of light pipe LEDs 310. These LEDs 282 project rearward into a conical, spherical, parabolic (or other shape) reflector 290 that spreads the reflected light throughout the inner surface of the diffuser 280 so that it exits as a substantially uniform spread of direct, diffuse light onto the surface of interest. As will be described further below, the reflector's shape can be optimized to improve the spread of light along the conical diffuser. In this embodiment, the reflector 290 is constructed from polymer with a white textured surface to further diffuse the light reflected therefrom. This indirect projection of light with a diffusing reflective surface significantly aids in reducing the number of diffuse illumination LEDs 282 employed to project the diffuse illumination, thereby reducing production costs and power consumption. As noted above, in this embodiment, the diffuse illumination LEDs 282 are high-output blue LEDs. However, the particular colors used for each type of illumination are highly variable. However, it is highly desirable that the diffuse illumination be spaced apart on the spectrum sufficiently from the dark field illumination to allow adequate resolution of the two wavelengths of light.

A translucent “conical” filter 292 is provided. The filter 292 is adapted to filter out light with larger wavelengths, thereby allowing smaller wavelength blue light to pass out of the diffuser and onto the surface, but preventing the retransmission of any reflected red light from the surface, which would otherwise tend to become retransmitted as diffuse red light along with the red dark field illumination. The wavelength spread between red light and blue light is sufficient to accomplish this filtering without compromising the performance of either type (dark field/direct bright field versus direct diffuse) of illumination. The filter 292 conforms to the shape of the diffuser's outer (exposed) surface, and can be snapped or adhered onto the diffuser surface using a variety of fastening techniques that should be clear to those of ordinary skill. Note that instead of a separate filter (292), a similar effect can be obtained through the use of a colored diffuser (see FIG. 6 below). The color should be selected so that the diffuser transmits the diffuse light (blue in this embodiment), but does not reflect the dark field light (red in this embodiment) transmitted from the light pipe.

Thus, to summarize, at least two discrete sets of illumination transmitters (LEDs, for example) are provided according to the illustrative embodiment, the direct diffuse transmitters 282 and the dark field transmitters 310. In accordance with the illustrative embodiment, each discrete set of transmitters 282 and 310 generates a corresponding discrete illumination color. For example, direct diffuse illumination can be generated by blue LEDs and dark field (and direct bright field) can be generated by red LEDs. The use of two discrete colors allows each type of illumination to be restricted to its particular application, without mixing, using filtering within the illumination assembly. In this embodiment, each type of illumination creates an image that is received by the imager 212. The imager in this embodiment includes a conventional monochrome sensor that produces a grayscale image from the colored light. Note in alternate embodiments a color sensor can be employed. One such implementation is shown and described in commonly assigned U.S. patent application entitled SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR EMPLOYING COLOR ILLUMINATION AND COLOR FILTRATION IN A SYMBOLOGY READER by Laurens W. Nunnink, and filed on even date herewith, the teachings of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

Reference is now made to FIGS. 5 and 6, which describe generally the illumination patterns achieved by the light pipe 244 and diffuser 280 of the illumination assembly. Referring first to FIG. 5, a cross section of an implementation of the diffuser 280 is shown, with light pipe 244 as described generally above, relative to the imager assembly 212 (and associated lens structure 240). Dark field illumination (rays 510) is directed into the light pipe 244 that is internally reflected at the chamfered distal (forward) end 230 to be, thus, directed at the object surface 520 at a low angle. Further information regarding the basic design and implementation of passive light pipes with selectively actuated illumination to provide dark field illumination can be found in the above-incorporated U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/693,626, entitled LIGHT PIPE ILLUMINATION SYSTEM AND METHOD, by William H. Equitz, et al. Direct illumination (rays 532) from blue LEDs 282 is converted into totally diffuse direct illumination by reflection off the reflector 290, and passage into and through the diffuser 280 of this embodiment. The diffuser 280 thereby projects diffuse illumination on the object surface 520 within the field of view, depicted as the region defined by dashed lines 540. In this embodiment the diffuser 280 is, itself, translucent, without a color tint or color-filtering effect. In alternate embodiments, the diffuser can be tinted to generate a desired color and/or act as a filter (using colored or white illumination sources (282)). It should be noted that the diffuser 280 according to this embodiment, and other embodiments described herein, can be constructed and arranged so as to be removably attached to the hand held scanning appliance. In one example, the diffuser can be removed to allow the transmitters 282 to operate as non-diffuse direct bright field illumination. Alternatively, the diffuser can be provided with movable shutters that selectively expose clear (non-frosted/non-diffusing) windows in the overall diffuser. The removability of the diffuser 280 can be achieved by incorporating snap-fit clearances and/or features in the diffuser and light pipe 242 that permit removable assembly (not shown).

In this embodiment direct non-diffuse bright field illumination (see rays 620 in FIG. 6) is provided by refraction of light through the chamfered end 230 of the light pipe 244. As shown particularly in FIG. 6, a portion of the light internally reflected along the pipe 244 exits directly from the chamfered end 230 as relatively high-angle (usually greater than 45 degrees relative to the axis surface 520) bright field light (rays 620). The remaining light is internally reflected by the chamfered end 230 to exit adjacent to the inner corner 630 of the pipe 244 as discussed generally above. Note that the light pipe can be modified in alternate embodiments to include a flattened ring (residing in a plane perpendicular to the axis 270. This would permit additional bright field light to be directly transmitted onto the surface 520. Likewise, a nested light pipe with a flat (unchamfered) ring formed at its distal end can be used in alternate embodiments for direct transmission of bright field light along a waveguide separate from the depicted dark field light pipe 244. This can be useful where illuminators having a discrete color are used for direct bright field light. Alternatively, where optional direct bright field transmitters are employed they can be located so as to project light through clear/transparent portions (not shown) of the diffuser 280.

While not shown in this illustration for simplicity, it can be assumed that a filter (292 above) may be applied over the diffuser to prevent migration of reflected dark field (and bright field) light into the diffuser 280.

As discussed in the above Background of the Invention, illuminator light pipes according to various prior implementations of mark readers include a polished distal end. Referring briefly to FIG. 7, an image 710 acquired of a reflective surface using a light pipe with a polished end is shown. This image 710 clearly depicts delineated spots 720 produced by the individual illumination sources in the illumination ring. These spots lead to a somewhat broken illumination pattern that may effect acquisition of the mark 730.

Referring to FIG. 8, the reader 200 is fitted with an illumination assembly 800 that includes a light pipe 810 according to an embodiment of this invention. The light pipe 810 includes a chamfered end 820 about its forward perimeter having a general size and shape as described above. Notably, the depicted outer surface 830 of the chamfered end 820 is finely frosted or textured. This provides a mild diffusive effect to light exiting as direct bright field illumination (see FIG. 6) and also to internally reflected light exiting as dark field illumination. The resulting diffusion generates the image shown in FIG. 9. Note that the ring of light 920 surrounding the mark 930 is more uniform and the mark, itself, appears better contrasted than the results of the polished-end version shown in FIG. 7.

The frosted or textured surface 830 provided along the chamfered end facilitates a novel and desirable display of reader status according to an embodiment of this invention. Before describing the status display in detail, reference is made to FIG. 10, which schematically describes the basic components of the illumination and image processing system of the reader. The circuit board (215 in FIG. 2) of the reader includes a processor and illumination controller, shown schematically as processor/control block 1010. The processor/control 1010 can employ conventional image processing and mark-recognition/decoding processes. The processor/control 1010 receives signals from the trigger (block 1012), which are used to operate the illumination assembly and to obtain image date via the imager (block 1014). The aiming LEDs (block 1016 and see also 220 in FIG. 2) are operated before and during image acquisition under control of the processor 1010. These serve to keep the user aimed at the mark during the acquisition process, particularly where the scan is performed at a standoff distance from the object surface. To this end, it is noted that acquisition of the image according to this embodiment involves a stepping through of a plurality of illumination types (dark field and diffuse) in timed sequence, with associated image acquisition of the mark during each type of illumination. Typically the best image (or a combination of the images) is chosen to decode the data represented by the mark. Before acquisition, and after acquisition, the reader may indicate a variety of status codes, such as ready-to-read, read successful, read unsuccessful, etc. These indicators are described further below.

During the stepping process, the processor 1010 directs the illumination ring (block 1020) to illuminate. It then directs the diffuse illuminator (block 1018) to illuminate. As described in various of the above-incorporated-by-reference patent applications, the ring 1020 can include individual banks of LEDs (or other illumination sources) that, in this example, are formed into quadrants—namely top/north 1022, bottom/south 1024, right/east 1026 and left/west 1028 (as viewed from outside, toward the reader front). These quadrants can be individually addressed by the processor. This allows the output of each quadrant to be varied so as to generate the desired effect on the object. This is particularly useful, where the reader may be disposed at a non-perpendicular angle to the object surface or the surface is non-flat. Various automatic adjustment processes can be included to efficiently cycle through various lighting arrangements among the quadrants to determine the arrangement/profile that achieves the best image. In this embodiment, the individual illumination sources (LEDs 1030) are commercially available multi-color LEDs (red and green in this embodiment, denoted schematically by the split line down the middle of each LED 1030), capable of projecting either of two colors in response to the processor 1010. This can be useful, form an imaging standpoint, where a different color is to be provided for dark field and direct bright field. More significantly, the illumination ring's multicolor capability allows the light pipe (particularly the frosted end 820) to project a highly visible, subject-adjacent indicator light in a plurality of colors.

FIG. 11 details generally the illumination of the light pipe 810 for the purpose of providing the user an indicator. In this example, the four quadrants 1110, 1120, 1130 and 1140 of the textured chamfered edge 820 are illuminated red (denoted by the encircled R's) by their appropriate banks of LEDs in the ring. The frosted surface in fact generates a bright, diffuse color strip that enhances viewing of the indicator. This indicator can be illuminated before, during or after image acquisition as a continuous or blinking signal. Blinks can be timed in the manner of Morse code to achieve a desired status message. It should be clear that providing a large, clearly visible indicator light at the distal end of the light pipe (near to the mark—where the user will have his or her attention focused) affords a highly effective indicator that does not distract the user from the subject at hand and that is visible whether the reader is placed in close proximity to the object surface or at a standoff therefrom. In fact, at standoff distance, the indicator itself projects a colored light onto the surface, further focusing the user's attention on the task at hand.

As shown in FIG. 12, all light-pipe-end quadrants 1110, 1120, 1130, 1140 are illuminated in green (denoted by the encircled G's). This can be a solid (continuously green) or blinking indicator. It can also blink alternatively with red (or another color) according to any predetermined pattern to provide a particular message.

As shown in FIG. 13, the indicator is characterized by two (or more) simultaneous colors displayed by different quadrants (or other sections) of the light pipe edge. In this example, the top quadrant 1110 is red and the left quadrant 1140 is green. The opposed bottom and left quadrants 1120 and 1130, respectively, may also be red and green. This pattern may blink, or alternate (e.g. red and green switch). Likewise, a unique rolling change of colors may occur in which each quadrant, in turn changes to a different color so that the color change appears to migrate around the perimeter. Any observable and desirable shift of colors is contemplated as an indicator according to this invention.

Reference is now made to FIG. 14, which shows a variation of the above-described reflector shape. As discussed above, the length and angle (A) of the conical diffuser 280 (typically less than 45 degrees with respect to the axis 270 in each quadrant) defines a remote, distal region 1410 between the interior wall of the diffuser 280 and the shield 250 that is small in volume and difficult for light from the reflector 1420 to fill adequately. The gap between the inner perimeter of the illumination board 214 and the interior wall of the diffuser further obscures transmission of light into this remote region 1410. Thus, the reflecting surface 1422 of the reflector 1420 of this embodiment includes a plurality of steps 1424, 1426, 1428, 1429 which are designed to direct specific portions of the reflected light (rays 1430) from the LEDs 282 toward the various parts of the diffuser, including the remote regions 1410. Not that, adjacent to the central window 1450 in the reflector (through which the imager views the subject), the plurality of small, angled steps 1429 formed in the cross section are particularly adapted to transmit rays 1430 from the light sources 282 to various points along the remote region 1410 for an optimized spread of light along the entire diffuser surface. The reflector 1420 in this embodiment also includes a textured surface and a white surface color for maximum diffusion. In alternate embodiments, a different surface color and surface finish can be employed. In this manner a more-uniform illumination of the complete diffuser surface is achieved, and the presence of light and dark spotting on the object is minimized.

While a stepped reflector 1420 is shown and described according to an embodiment of this invention, it is expressly contemplated that reflectors having a variety of surface cross-sectional profiles can be employed in alternate embodiments. Such reflectors should be adapted, using optical-focusing techniques, to spread light along the length of a tapered or conical diffuser of a shape generally contemplated herein so as to avoid undesirable spotting on localized regions of the surface of interest.

It is contemplated that a light pipe with a textured or frosted chamfered end according to the various embodiments of this invention can be produced by a variety of techniques including grit blasting or peening of a finished surface, a desirable construction technique entails molding of the light pipe from poured resin. The chamfered end is located near the bottom of the mold and the rearward end (adjacent to the illumination ring) is located at the top of the mold, at which location the finished pipe is ejected from the mold. The bottom of the mold is provided with a frosted or textured pattern so as to form this surface effect on the chamfered end of the finished pipe. Referring to FIG. 15 which shows the cross section of the light pipe 244 the mold is constructed with a slight draft angle that tapers, so that the resulting light pipe 244 defines a pair of inner walls having a draft angle AD therebetween of approximately at least 2 degrees (each side being 1 degree relative to the axis 270). Because the mold includes a frosted/textured surface, the draft angle is set at approximately 2 degrees, rather than the typical 1 degree for a smooth molded part. This 2-degree draft angle better overcomes the possible adhesion effects created between the finished pipe and the textured mold surface. This draft angle is employed where the texture is applied to the chamfered ends 230. Note that the chamfered ends 230 each define therebetween an angle of approximately 70 degrees (each end being approximately 35 degrees relative to the axis 270). It should be clear, however, that the techniques used for forming the light pipe and other components herein can vary within the scope of ordinary skill.

Referring further to FIG. 15, according to an alternate embodiment, the frosted or textured finish can be applied to the inner wall of the light pipe 244 at the end location 1520. This location 1520 is exposed beyond the distal end of the diffuser 280 and shield 250 described above to allow unobstructed passage of dark field light (rays 510). This causes the reflected dark field light to pass through a diffusive structure prior to striking the mark surface. Note that the textured surface can also be applied to the outer side (location 820) in an embodiment of the invention. Alternatively, the textured surface may be selectively applied to only one of the inner location (1520) or outer location (820) as appropriate. It should be noted that, when applying texture to the interior wall at location 1520, the deeded draft angle AD (FIG. 14) would typically be greater than 2 degrees. An appropriate draft angle can be determined by those of skill in the molding plastic parts.

According to the embodiments described above, the general cross sectional perimeter shape of the light pipe is rectangular (taken on a plane through axis 270). For the purposes of this description, the term “rectangular” shall include minor deviations of the sides of the rectangle from a straight-line geometry. In other words, a rectangular shape herein may include, for example, curvilinear arcs as shown and described. In general, the term rectangular shall be defined generally as a set of linear of non-linear sides that intersect at each of four corners (that may be significantly rounded corners) that cause the approximate direction of two adjacent sides to vary by approximately ninety degrees. A highly generalized representation of a rectangular light pipe 1610 is shown in FIG. 16. As described above, the sides 1620, 1622, 1624 and 1626 of the rectangular light pipe 1610 can be defined in terms of North (arrow N), South (arrow S), East (arrow E) and West (arrow W). Likewise, each edge of the distal, chamfered end can be correspondingly represented as EN (edge North), ES (edge South), EE (edge East) and (EW (edge West). The length LNS between the North edge EN and South edge ES is shorter (in this embodiment) that the length LEW between the East edge EE and West edge EW (LNS<LEW). Note that in alternate embodiments the reverse may be true (LNS>LEW) or is these measurements can be approximately equal.

Referring to FIGS. 17 and 18, the chamfered edge along each side is disposed at the same fixed angle (approximately 55 degrees in this embodiment), generating dark field light rays that converge at point 1710 at an average fixed angle θ of approximately 32 degrees (representing half the chamfer angle along with an induced draft angle of 1 degree and further refraction as the light exits the pipe interior wall). Since the distance LNS is less than the distance LEW, the convergence distance of light DNS for the pair of opposing sides EN and ES is less than the convergence distance DEW of light from the pair of opposing sides EE and EW. Thus this arrangement affords a wider depth of field for the reader by providing two differing distance ranges of illumination for the mark. In an embodiment of this invention the approximate length NS is 3 cm, the approximate length EW is 4.5 cm. DNS is approximately 0.92 cm, while DEW is approximately 1.23 cm. Thus a desirable difference of more than 0.31 cm is provided for greater depth of field.

Besides providing a larger depth of field with two projection distances, the above-described rectangular light pipe shape presents several advantages over round light pipes and those of other regular, equilateral shapes. The rectangular shape more closely conforms to the conventional 4:3 horizontal-to-vertical ratio exhibited by commercially available sensors. The rectangular cross section yields a larger dark field range than provided by round pipes. It also allows for a lower-profile reader, in terms of overall height. Moreover, the use of discrete “sides” on the pipe makes it easier to control separate quadrants, as described above.

Note that, while the embodiments described herein generally contemplate somewhat polygonal shapes with adjacent sides connected by corners, it is expressly contemplated that continuously curving joints between “sides” can be provided. As such the terms “sides” and pair of opposing sides should be taken to include ellipses in which the opposing sides spanned by the major axis are greater in length that the opposing sides spanned by the minor axis. In this manner each set of sides generates an average convergence distance for dark field rays that is different, thereby producing the desired enhanced depth of field. To this end, FIG. 19 details an elliptical cross section light pipe 1910 that can be adapted for use with an embodiment of the invention (with appropriate reshaping of the illumination ring and diffuser, where applicable. The distal end of the light pipe 1910 terminates in a chamfered end 1920 having an angle and function as generally described herein. The edge of the chamfered end, in essence defines an opposing pair of North and South sides (1930 and 1932, respectively) and East and West sides (1940 and 1942, respectively), which are separated by distances that differ. In this case the distances are the minor axis MIA and the major axis MAA (respectively) of the ellipse. In this embodiment, the “sides” can be characterized as continuously running into each other with arbitrary boundaries or with “continuously curving corners.” A variety of variations on this basic elliptical shape are expressly contemplated. In any case, the sides generate at least two discrete distances of ray convergence for a given fixed chamfer angle.

It should be clear from the above-described embodiments, that a reader having superior illumination and mark-reading capabilities is described herein. This reader alleviates many of the disadvantages encountered with prior art readers, and provided improved object-illumination, status-indication and overall durability.

The foregoing has been a detailed description of illustrative embodiments of the invention. Various modifications and additions can be made without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, any of the various features described herein can be combined with some or all of the other features described herein according to alternate embodiments. Additionally, while a plurality of multicolor LEDs are provided, individual monochromatic LEDs each in a plurality of colors can be arranged adjacent to each other on the illumination ring in alternate embodiments. Likewise, while a ring divided into quadrants is shown, any acceptable division of the overall ring can be provided according to alternate embodiments. Certain parts of the overall ring can be made to work together with other parts according to embodiments hereof. For example, top and right may always work together or top and bottom may always work together. Likewise, additional ring colors, such as yellow can be employed to provide further types of indicators. Multi-colored illumination sources or a plurality of adjacent individual illumination sources (or combinations of individual and multi-colored sources) can be used to generate the desired seat of ring colors. Moreover, while a rectangular light pipe is shown and described, a greater range of depth of field may be obtained by providing a non-equilateral shape having more than four sides joined by corners (for example, an oblique hexagon). This invention contemplates polygonal light pipe cross sections having four or more sides (linear or curvilinear) joined at corners (that may be rounded). Finally, it is expressly contemplated that any of the processes or steps described herein can be implemented as hardware, software, including program instructions executing on a computer, or a combination of hardware and software. Accordingly, this description is meant to be taken only by way of example, and not to otherwise limit the scope of this invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US23573781 Dec 19415 Sep 1944Bausch & LombMicroscope illuminator
US37269989 Aug 197110 Apr 1973Phonocopy IncLight pipe illuminated scan reader
US38576269 Jul 197331 Dec 1974Bausch & LombMicroscope coaxial illumination apparatus
US396119828 Apr 19751 Jun 1976Rockwell International CorporationVisually alignable sensor wand which excludes unwanted light from a sensor system
US428242525 Jul 19794 Aug 1981Norand CorporationInstant portable bar code reader
US45700576 Aug 198411 Feb 1986Norand CorporationInstant portable bar code reader
US474377321 Aug 198510 May 1988Nippon Electric Industry Co., Ltd.Bar code scanner with diffusion filter and plural linear light source arrays
US47663007 Feb 198623 Aug 1988Norand CorporationInstant portable bar code reader
US482091111 Jul 198611 Apr 1989Photographic Sciences CorporationApparatus for scanning and reading bar codes
US489452318 Apr 198916 Jan 1990Norand CorporationInstant portable bar code reader
US49690372 Aug 19896 Nov 1990Siemens AktiengesellschaftArrangement for illuminating and detecting parts in an image processing system
US501969931 Aug 198828 May 1991Norand CorporationHand-held optical character reader with means for instantaneously reading information from a predetermined area at an optical sensing area
US514994816 Jul 199022 Sep 1992Computer IdenticsImproved bar code reader system for reading bar codes under high specular reflection conditions with a variety of surface effects
US517734613 Dec 19895 Jan 1993Computer IdenticsBar code reader system for reading bar code labels with a highly specular and low contrast surface
US520281726 Dec 199013 Apr 1993Norand CorporationHand-held data capture system with interchangeable modules
US522761415 Dec 198913 Jul 1993Norand CorporationCore computer processor module, and peripheral shell module assembled to form a pocket size data capture unit
US523916920 May 199124 Aug 1993Microscan Systems IncorporatedOptical signal processor for barcode reader
US525860613 May 19912 Nov 1993Norand CorporationInstant portable bar code reader
US529100927 Feb 19921 Mar 1994Roustaei Alexander ROptical scanning head
US531337325 Nov 199217 May 1994United Parcel Service Of America, Inc.Apparatus for the uniform illumination of a surface
US53191824 Mar 19927 Jun 1994Welch Allyn, Inc.Integrated solid state light emitting and detecting array and apparatus employing said array
US533117610 Apr 199219 Jul 1994Veritec Inc.Hand held two dimensional symbol reader with a symbol illumination window
US53491722 Oct 199220 Sep 1994Alex RoustaeiOptical scanning head
US535497723 Oct 199211 Oct 1994Alex RoustaeiOptical scanning head
US535918514 Sep 199225 Oct 1994Norand CorporationChromatic ranging method and apparatus for reading optically readable information over a substantial range of distances
US536743924 Dec 199222 Nov 1994Cognex CorporationSystem for frontal illumination
US537481712 Jun 199220 Dec 1994Symbol Technologies, Inc.Pre-objective scanner with flexible optical support
US537888319 Jul 19913 Jan 1995Omniplanar Inc.Omnidirectional wide range hand held bar code reader
US54060606 May 199311 Apr 1995Opticon Inc.Bar code reader for sensing at an acute angle
US540808418 Feb 199318 Apr 1995United Parcel Service Of America, Inc.Method and apparatus for illumination and imaging of a surface using 2-D LED array
US541425128 Jul 19949 May 1995Norand CorporationReader for decoding two-dimensional optical information
US542247218 Oct 19936 Jun 1995Psc, Inc.Optical symbol (bar code) reading systems having an electro-optic receptor with embedded grating rings
US543028520 Aug 19934 Jul 1995Welch Allyn, Inc.Illumination system for optical reader
US544989228 Oct 199212 Sep 1995Nippondenso Co., Ltd.Information reading apparatus
US54614175 Oct 199324 Oct 1995Northeast Robotics, Inc.Continuous diffuse illumination method and apparatus
US54632144 Mar 199431 Oct 1995Welch Allyn, Inc.Apparatus for optimizing throughput in decoded-output scanners and method of using same
US546929426 Jul 199321 Nov 1995Xrl, Inc.Illumination system for OCR of indicia on a substrate
US54810989 Nov 19932 Jan 1996Spectra-Physics Scanning Systems, Inc.Method and apparatus for reading multiple bar code formats
US548499418 Oct 199316 Jan 1996Roustaei; AlexanderOptical scanning head with improved resolution
US550051622 Nov 199419 Mar 1996Norand CorporationPortable oblique optical reader system and method
US55043175 Jan 19942 Apr 1996Opticon, Inc.Optical reader
US550436721 Mar 19942 Apr 1996Intermec CorporationSymbology reader illumination system
US551485810 Feb 19957 May 1996Intermec CorporationMethod and apparatus for decoding unresolved complex multi-width bar code symbology profiles
US551545231 Dec 19927 May 1996Electroglas, Inc.Optical character recognition illumination method and system
US553246716 Sep 19942 Jul 1996Roustaei; AlexOptical scanning head
US556990217 Jan 199529 Oct 1996Welch Allyn, Inc.Contact two-dimensional bar code reader having pressure actuated switch
US55856165 May 199517 Dec 1996Rockwell International CorporationCamera for capturing and decoding machine-readable matrix symbol images applied to reflective surfaces
US55862126 Jul 199417 Dec 1996Hewlett-PackardOptical wave guide for hand-held scanner
US559195516 Nov 19947 Jan 1997Laser; VadimPortable data file readers
US559800721 Mar 199428 Jan 1997Intermec CorporationSymbology reader with fixed focus spotter beam
US560616025 Apr 199525 Feb 1997Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaSymbol reading device
US56190294 Apr 19958 Apr 1997Rockwell International CorporationImaging enhancement for touch cameras
US562313730 Mar 199522 Apr 1997Welch Allyn, Inc.Illumination apparatus for optical readers
US565454017 Aug 19955 Aug 1997Stanton; StuartHigh resolution remote position detection using segmented gratings
US56591676 Dec 199519 Aug 1997Metanetics CorporationVisually interactive decoding of dataforms
US568429015 Dec 19954 Nov 1997Intermec CorporationSymbology reader illumination system
US569632118 Oct 19959 Dec 1997Hitachi, Ltd.Thermal-type air flow measuring instrument with fluid-direction judging capability
US56976999 Sep 199416 Dec 1997Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaLighting apparatus
US570334819 Dec 199530 Dec 1997Kabushiki Kaisha TecHand-held optical code reader
US571509521 Feb 19953 Feb 1998Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.Color separating device and color image reading device incorporating same
US572386825 Feb 19973 Mar 1998Welch Allyn, Inc.Illuminating assembly for use with bar code readers
US573415326 Jan 199631 Mar 1998Symbol Technologies, Inc.Hand-held scanning head with aiming beam
US574363327 Dec 199528 Apr 1998Physical Optics CorporationBar code illuminator
US575097412 Apr 199612 May 1998Keyence CorporationLighting apparatus having light emitting diodes arranged in a plurality of planes on a printed circuit board
US57569811 Aug 199626 May 1998Symbol Technologies, Inc.Optical scanner for reading and decoding one- and-two-dimensional symbologies at variable depths of field including memory efficient high speed image processing means and high accuracy image analysis means
US577381029 Mar 199630 Jun 1998Welch Allyn, Inc.Method for generating real time degree of focus signal for handheld imaging device
US57773145 Nov 19967 Jul 1998SymbolOptical scanner with fixed focus optics
US578083414 May 199614 Jul 1998Welch Allyn, Inc.Imaging and illumination optics assembly
US578381126 Feb 199621 Jul 1998Metanetics CorporationPortable data collection device with LED targeting and illumination assembly
US578658628 Oct 199628 Jul 1998Welch Allyn, Inc.Hand-held optical reader having a detachable lens-guide assembly
US579303329 Mar 199611 Aug 1998Metanetics CorporationPortable data collection device with viewing assembly
US581178426 Jun 199522 Sep 1998Telxon CorporationExtended working range dataform reader
US583475412 Dec 199610 Nov 1998Metanetics CorporationPortable data collection device with viewing assembly
US585941825 Jan 199612 Jan 1999Symbol Technologies, Inc.CCD-based bar code scanner with optical funnel
US586191021 Oct 199719 Jan 1999Mcgarry; E. JohnImage formation apparatus for viewing indicia on a planar specular substrate
US588633810 Jul 199723 Mar 1999Intermec Ip CorporationSymbology reader illumination system
US589434826 Nov 199713 Apr 1999Kensington Laboratories, Inc.Scribe mark reader
US590339127 Mar 199711 May 1999Kimoto Co., Ltd.Optical film
US590714816 Sep 199725 May 1999Casio Computer Co., Ltd.Portable reading apparatus for scan-reading a code using a laser light beam
US59190576 Jun 19976 Jul 1999Yazaki CorporationRemovable main connector
US592064316 May 19976 Jul 1999Northeast Robotics LlcFlexible lighting element circuit and method of manufacturing the same
US592302026 Mar 199613 Jul 1999Lintec CorporationLighting apparatus
US596932117 Jun 199719 Oct 1999Norand CorporationHand-held optically readable information set reader with operation over a range of distances
US597976313 Oct 19959 Nov 1999Metanetics CorporationSub-pixel dataform reader with dynamic noise margins
US59844942 Apr 199716 Nov 1999Jimmy G. CookLight shield for an illumination system
US599275121 Dec 199530 Nov 1999Norand CorporationPortable data file readers
US60115864 Dec 19964 Jan 2000Cognex CorporationLow-profile image formation apparatus
US602212419 Aug 19978 Feb 2000Ppt Vision, Inc.Machine-vision ring-reflector illumination system and method
US603309023 Jul 19977 Mar 2000Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaLighting apparatus
US603437927 Feb 19977 Mar 2000Intermec Ip Corp.Code reader having replaceable optics assemblies supporting multiple illuminators
US603609519 May 199714 Mar 2000Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaData symbol reader with observation window
US603925414 Mar 199421 Mar 2000Siemens AktiengesellschaftMethod for imaging bar codes
US603925526 Aug 199721 Mar 2000Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaData symbol reading apparatus
US604201228 Sep 199828 Mar 2000Spectra-Physics Scanning Systems, Inc.Method and apparatus for reading images without need for self-generated illumination source
US604504719 Jun 19984 Apr 2000Welch Allyn Data Collection, Inc.Two-dimensional part reader having a focussing guide
US606072224 Sep 19979 May 2000Havens; William H.Optical reader having illumination assembly including improved aiming pattern generator
US606567813 Nov 199823 May 2000Symbol Technologies, Inc.Bar code scanner having a focusing system
US60738525 Jun 199713 Jun 2000Asahi Kogaku Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaData symbol reader with an observation window
US610586931 Oct 199722 Aug 2000Microscan Systems, IncorporatedSymbol reading device including optics for uniformly illuminating symbology
US61199398 Jul 199819 Sep 2000Welch Allyn, Inc.Optical assembly for barcode scanner
US614104622 Dec 199731 Oct 2000Roth; Stephen AnthonyElectronic camera having an illuminator with dispersing ring lens
US61586616 Jun 199512 Dec 2000Intermec Ip Corp.Instant portable bar code reader
US61645448 Jul 199826 Dec 2000Welch Allyn Data Collection, Inc.Adjustable illumination system for a barcode scanner
US621001331 Mar 19993 Apr 2001Imperial Chemical Industries PlcRefrigerator comprising edge-lit panel illumination system
US622398610 Apr 19981 May 2001Psc Scanning, Inc.Aiming aid for optical data reading
US623439715 Jun 200022 May 2001Symbol Technologies, Inc.Techniques for reading two dimensional code, including maxicode
US6247645 *25 Jan 199919 Jun 2001International Business Machines CorporationOptical reader with combined housing and light pipe
US62490086 Mar 200019 Jun 2001Intermec Ip Corp.Code reader having replaceable optics assemblies supporting multiple illuminators
US625055112 Jun 199826 Jun 2001Symbol Technologies, Inc.Autodiscrimination and line drawing techniques for code readers
US626076322 Feb 199917 Jul 2001Psc Scanning, Inc.Integral illumination source/collection lens assembly for data reading system
US626729411 Sep 199831 Jul 2001Robotic Vision Systems Inc.Method of operating a charge coupled device in an accelerated mode, and in conjunction with an optical symbology imager
US628337411 Sep 19984 Sep 2001Robotic Vision Systems, Inc.Symbology imaging and reading apparatus and method
US634011412 Jun 199822 Jan 2002Symbol Technologies, Inc.Imaging engine and method for code readers
US634187831 Aug 199929 Jan 2002Cognex CorporationMethod and apparatus for providing uniform diffuse illumination to a surface
US634716319 May 199512 Feb 2002Symbol Technologies, Inc.System for reading two-dimensional images using ambient and/or projected light
US634787416 Feb 200019 Feb 20023M Innovative Properties CompanyWedge light extractor with risers
US63522044 Aug 19995 Mar 2002Industrial Data Entry Automation Systems IncorporatedOptical symbol scanner with low angle illumination
US636094824 Nov 199926 Mar 2002Denso CorporationMethod of reading two-dimensional code and storage medium thereof
US63713741 Nov 200016 Apr 2002Welch Allyn Data Collection, Inc.Adjustable illumination system for a barcode scanner
US638535226 Oct 19947 May 2002Symbol Technologies, Inc.System and method for reading and comparing two-dimensional images
US638550722 Jun 20007 May 2002U.S. Philips CorporationIllumination module
US639434917 Sep 199828 May 2002Denso CorporationOptical information reader and recording medium
US640592516 Mar 200118 Jun 2002Symbol Technologies, Inc.Autodiscrimination and line drawing techniques for code readers
US6429934 *25 Feb 20006 Aug 2002Robotic Vision Systems, Inc.Optimal symbology illumination-apparatus and method
US643541121 Apr 199820 Aug 2002Intermec Ip Corp.Optoelectronic device for acquisition of images, in particular of bar codes
US649122330 Aug 200010 Dec 2002Hand Held Products, Inc.Autodiscriminating optical reader
US65057788 Sep 200014 Jan 2003Psc Scanning, Inc.Optical reader with selectable processing characteristics for reading data in multiple formats
US651371413 Sep 19994 Feb 2003Psc Scanning, Inc.Character reconstruction and element level processing in bar code scanning system
US65471463 May 200015 Apr 2003Ipilot, Inc.Method, system and apparatus for processing barcode data
US657536713 Jul 200010 Jun 2003Welch Allyn Data Collection, Inc.Image data binarization methods enabling optical reader to read fine print indicia
US658183830 Oct 200024 Jun 2003Ipilot, Inc.Optical scanner head for processing barcode data and method of manufacture
US659204030 May 200215 Jul 2003Symbol Technologies, Inc.Hand-held bar code reader with single printed circuit board
US659542223 Jun 199922 Jul 2003Assure Systems, Inc.Bar code reader
US65987975 Jun 200129 Jul 2003Jason J. LeeFocus and illumination analysis algorithm for imaging device
US66017688 Mar 20015 Aug 2003Welch Allyn Data Collection, Inc.Imaging module for optical reader comprising refractive diffuser
US660712811 Sep 200019 Aug 2003Welch Allyn Data Collection Inc.Optical assembly for barcode scanner
US66071324 Apr 200019 Aug 2003Symbol Technologies, Inc.Bar code reader with an integrated scanning component module mountable on printed circuit board
US66210659 Nov 200016 Sep 2003Mitutoyo CorporationImaging probe
US665935020 Feb 20029 Dec 2003Hand Held ProductsAdjustable illumination system for a barcode scanner
US666152111 Sep 19989 Dec 2003Robotic Vision Systems, Inc.Diffuse surface illumination apparatus and methods
US668103728 Apr 200020 Jan 2004Cognex CorporationApparatus for locating features of an object using varied illumination
US66899985 Jul 200010 Feb 2004Psc Scanning, Inc.Apparatus for optical distancing autofocus and imaging and method of using the same
US67295462 Jan 20024 May 2004Symbol Technologies, Inc.System for reading two-dimensional images using ambient and/or projected light
US676016522 Apr 20026 Jul 2004Symbol Technologies, Inc.System and method for manufacturing an assembly including a housing and a window member therein
US680308824 Oct 200212 Oct 2004Eastman Kodak CompanyReflection media for scannable information system
US680984724 Jul 200126 Oct 2004Psc Scanning, Inc.Scanner with synchronously switched optics
US68312903 Oct 200314 Dec 2004Strube, Inc.Electro-optic fluid quantity measurement system
US68327257 Mar 200221 Dec 2004Hand Held Products, Inc.Optical reader comprising multiple color illumination
US685465010 Apr 200215 Feb 2005Microscan Systems, Inc.Mirrored surface optical symbol scanner
US685565025 Aug 200015 Feb 2005American Excelsior CompanySynthetic fiber filled erosion control blanket
US686042811 Sep 19981 Mar 2005Robotic Vision Systems Inc.Optical symbologies imager
US691467918 Dec 20015 Jul 2005Cognex Technology And Investment CorporationSide light apparatus and method
US702154229 Aug 20034 Apr 2006Symbol Technologies, Inc.Imaging and illumination engine for an optical code reader
US70252712 Apr 200311 Apr 2006Symbol Technologies, Inc.Imaging optical code reader having selectable depths of field
US702527214 Mar 200311 Apr 2006Symbol Technologies, Inc.System and method for auto focusing an optical code reader
US702527329 Apr 200311 Apr 2006Symbol Technologies, Inc.Miniature auto focus voice coil actuator system
US702557224 Jul 200211 Apr 2006Denso CorporationCompressor with integral control unit
US703885324 Dec 20032 May 2006Symbol Technlogies, Inc.Athermalized plastic lens
US70443771 Aug 200316 May 2006Symbol Technologies Inc.Plug-and-play imaging and illumination engine for an optical code reader
US709013219 May 200315 Aug 2006Hand Held Products, Inc.Long range optical reader
US712826613 Nov 200331 Oct 2006Metrologic Instruments. Inc.Hand-supportable digital imaging-based bar code symbol reader supporting narrow-area and wide-area modes of illumination and image capture
US71315871 Jun 20047 Nov 2006Symbol Technologies, Inc.System and method for illuminating and reading optical codes imprinted or displayed on reflective surfaces
US71597641 Jun 20049 Jan 2007Intermec Ip Corp.Versatile window system for information gathering systems
US71631492 Mar 200416 Jan 2007Symbol Technologies, Inc.System and method for illuminating and reading optical codes imprinted or displayed on reflective surfaces
US718005213 Sep 200520 Feb 2007Symbol Technologies, Inc.Non-heavy metal optical bandpass filter in electro-optical readers
US718782517 Dec 20036 Mar 2007Symbol Technologies, Inc.System and method for extending viewing angle of light emitted from light pipe
US72044188 Dec 200417 Apr 2007Symbol Technologies, Inc.Pulsed illumination in imaging reader
US720442031 Aug 200417 Apr 2007Symbol Technologies, Inc.Scanner and method for eliminating specular reflection
US722454031 Jan 200529 May 2007Datalogic Scanning, Inc.Extended depth of field imaging system using chromatic aberration
US724084428 Jul 200410 Jul 2007Metrologic Instruments, Inc.Hand-suportable imaging-based bar code symbol reader employing an automatic light exposure measurement and illumination control subsystem for measuring illumination exposure on CMOS image sensing array and controlling LED illumination array driver circuitry
US725338423 Mar 20057 Aug 2007Microscan Systems IncorporatedFocusing system using light source and image sensor
US726728228 Jul 200411 Sep 2007Metrologic Instruments, Inc.Hand-supportable imaging-based bar code symbol reader capable of exposing an automatically detected object to a field of narrow-band LED-based illumination only when substantially all rows of pixels in a CMOS image sensing array are in a state of integration
US72702747 Mar 200218 Sep 2007Hand Held Products, Inc.Imaging module comprising support post for optical reader
US727857527 Jul 20049 Oct 2007Metrologic Instruments, Inc.Hand-supportable image-based bar code symbol reader employing helically-sweeping feature-extraction analysis on a captured digital image of an object referenced from the center thereof
US728166129 Jul 200416 Oct 2007Metrologic Instruments, Inc.Hand-supportable digital imaging-based bar code symbol reading system employing a method of intelligently illuminating an object so as to generate a digital image thereof which is substantially free of noise caused by specular-type reflection
US729674920 Jan 200520 Nov 2007Intermec Ip Corp.Autofocus barcode scanner and the like employing micro-fluidic lens
US73061554 Jun 200411 Dec 2007Hand Held Products, Inc.Image sensor assembly for optical reader
US73141732 Jul 20041 Jan 2008Lv Partners, L.P.Optical reader with ultraviolet wavelength capability
US733152431 May 200519 Feb 2008Symbol Technologies, Inc.Feedback mechanism for scanner devices
US736070514 Jul 200522 Apr 2008Intermec Ip Corp.Apparatus and method for reading machine-readable symbols
US74519179 Jan 200318 Nov 2008Hand Held Products, Inc.Transaction terminal comprising imaging module
US749077415 Nov 200417 Feb 2009Metrologic Instruments, Inc.Hand-supportable imaging based bar code symbol reader employing automatic light exposure measurement and illumination control subsystem integrated therein
US75204348 Jun 200521 Apr 2009Intermec Ip Corp.Reader for reading machine-readable symbols, for example bar code symbols
US756862811 Mar 20054 Aug 2009Hand Held Products, Inc.Bar code reading device with global electronic shutter control
US76041745 Aug 200420 Oct 2009Cognex Technology And Investment CorporationMethod and apparatus for providing omnidirectional lighting in a scanning device
US200100279995 Jun 200111 Oct 2001Lee Jason J.Focus and illumination analysis algorithm for imaging device
US200200004724 Aug 19993 Jan 2002John R. HattersleyOptical symbol scanner with low angle illumination
US2002003009417 Apr 200114 Mar 2002Daniel CurryArrangement for and method of establishing a logical relationship among peripherals in a wireless local area network
US2002007440325 Oct 200120 Jun 2002Mark KricheverExtended range bar code reader
US200201253228 Mar 200112 Sep 2002Mccall Melvin D.Imaging module for optical reader comprising refractive diffuser
US2002017097010 May 200221 Nov 2002Welch Allyn Data Collection, Inc.Optical reader having decoding and image capturing functionality
US200300010182 May 20022 Jan 2003Hand Held Products, Inc.Optical reader comprising good read indicator
US200300299177 Mar 200213 Feb 2003Hand Held Products, Inc.Optical reader for imaging module
US200300343947 Mar 200220 Feb 2003Hand Held Products, Inc.Optical reader comprising finely adjustable lens assembly
US2003005863125 Sep 200227 Mar 2003Kenji YonedaLighting apparatus for insepection
US200300624137 Mar 20023 Apr 2003Hand Held Products, Inc.Optical reader comprising multiple color illumination
US2003006241822 Jan 20013 Apr 2003Welch Allyn Data Collection, Inc.Optical reader having partial frame operating mode
US2003008018727 May 19991 May 2003Marco PivaApparatus and method for reading an optical code
US200300801898 Jul 20021 May 2003Symbol Technologies, Inc.Bar code reader including linear sensor array and hybrid camera and bar code reader
US2003016362322 Feb 200228 Aug 2003Yeung Chi PingImage capture device
US2004006985515 Oct 200215 Apr 2004Mehul PatelImaging bar code reader with moving beam simulation
US2004015653910 Feb 200312 Aug 2004Asm Assembly Automation LtdInspecting an array of electronic components
US2004021717318 Jul 20034 Nov 2004Lizotte Todd EMethod and apparatus for reading firearm microstamping
US2004023863716 Jan 20032 Dec 2004Metrologic Instruments, Inc.Point of sale (POS) based bar code reading and cash register systems with integrated internet-enabled customer-kiosk terminals
US200500294399 Sep 200410 Feb 2005Beneficial Imaging CorporationMethod and apparatus for scanning an optical beam using an optical conduit
US2005004572525 Aug 20033 Mar 2005Vladimir GurevichAxial chromatic aberration auto-focusing system and method
US2005004772328 Sep 20043 Mar 2005Li Kenneth K.Lensed tapered optical waveguide
US20050087601 *24 Oct 200328 Apr 2005Gerst Carl W.IiiLight pipe illumination system and method
US2005011714410 Apr 20032 Jun 2005Bryan GreenwayAutomated protein crystallization imaging
US2005018003718 Feb 200418 Aug 2005Boulder Nonlinear Systems, Inc.Electronic filter wheel
US2005019972511 Mar 200415 Sep 2005Pierre CraenOptical adjustment for increased working range and performance in electro-optical readers
US200600276574 Aug 20049 Feb 2006Laurens NinninkMethod and apparatus for high resolution decoding of encoded symbols
US2006002765912 Sep 20059 Feb 2006Symbol Technologies, Inc.Integrated exit window and imaging engine
US20060032921 *5 Aug 200416 Feb 2006Gerst Carl W IiiMethod and apparatus for providing omnidirectional lighting in a scanning device
US2006006065323 Sep 200423 Mar 2006Carl WittenbergScanner system and method for simultaneously acquiring data images from multiple object planes
US2006013141921 Dec 200422 Jun 2006Laurens NunninkLow profile illumination for direct part mark readers
US2006013375716 Dec 200422 Jun 2006Laurens NunninkHand held symbology reader illumination diffuser
US2006026684031 May 200530 Nov 2006Symbol Technologies, Inc.Feedback mechanism for scanner devices
US2007009019324 Oct 200526 Apr 2007Laurens NunninkIntegrated illumination assembly for symbology reader
US2007009133224 Oct 200526 Apr 2007Laurens NunninkSystem and method for employing color illumination and color filtration in a symbology reader
US2007015206430 Dec 20055 Jul 2007Laurens NunninkDiffuse light ring for reading encoded symbols
US2007020618325 Nov 20066 Sep 2007Ppt Vision, Inc.Method and apparatus for auto-adjusting illumination
US2008017038026 Sep 200717 Jul 2008Pastore Timothy MSystems and/or devices for camera-based inspections
CN1426570A27 Feb 200125 Jun 2003物理光学公司Scanner utilizing light pipe with diffuser
DE3737792A16 Nov 198718 May 1989Hannes BurkhardtBar-code reader
DE3931044C216 Sep 19892 Jan 1992Dirk R. H. 6101 Bickenbach De DickfeldTitle not available
DE4003983C19 Feb 199029 Aug 1991Abos Automation, Bildverarbeitung, Optische Systeme Gmbh, 8057 Eching, DeAutomated monitoring of space=shape data for mfg. semiconductors - compares image signals for defined illumination angle range with master signals, to determine defects
DE4123916A119 Jul 199123 Jan 1992Reinhard MalzIdentifying and classifying surface qualities and defects of object - using video camera to store reflected images arising from sequential exposure to light from distributed sources
DE4123916C219 Jul 19919 Apr 1998Reinhard MalzVerfahren und Vorrichtung zum beleuchtungsdynamischen Erkennen und Klassifizieren von Oberflächenmerkmalen und -defekten eines Objektes
DE10026301A126 May 200029 Nov 2001Sick AgVerfahren und Vorrichtung zur Bildverarbeitung
DE10113426A119 Mar 200126 Sep 2002Gavitec GmbhCode reader incorporates illumination device for sidewards illumination of scanned code
EP0185782B128 Dec 198415 Mar 1989International Business Machines CorporationWaveguide for an optical near-field microscope
EP0356680A117 Jul 19897 Mar 1990Siemens AktiengesellschaftOptical recording apparatus for an image-processing system
EP1158460B128 Mar 20016 Oct 2004Sick AGImage processing system and method
JP6124361A Title not available
JP10134133A Title not available
JP200728088A Title not available
WO1992016909A120 Mar 19921 Oct 1992Dansam Holdings LtdBar-code reader
WO2001065469A127 Feb 20017 Sep 2001Physical Optics CorpScanner utilizing light pipe with diffuser
WO2002075637A115 Mar 200226 Sep 2002Gavitec GmbhReader with an image recording unit for reading a code and method for reading a code
Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1CCS Inc., LFX-series Lights, http://www.ccs-inc.co.jp/cgi-bin/hp.cgi?menu=102-115-01e, Feb. 12, 2009.
2Chinese Patent Office Action, Application No. 2006-80048666.8, pp. 1-9, dated Mar. 19, 2010.
3Cognex Corporation, 50mm Ring Light Image Formation System, For the In-Sight 5000 series ID Readers, 2006.
4Cognex Corporation, AcuReader/OCR, Accurate, Fast Wafer Identification, 1995-1996.
5Cognex Corporation, DataMan 6500 Series, Quick Reference Guide, Aug. 2004.
6Cognex Corporation, DataMan 6500 Series, Quick Reference, 2004.
7Cognex Corporation, DataMan 7500 Series, Handheld Models, Cognex Machine Vision System and Machine Vision Sensors, 2009.
8Cognex Corporation, DataMan Handheld ID Readers, 2005.
9Cognex Corporation, Diffuse Ring Light Installation Instructions, In-Sight, 2006.
10German Patent Office Office Action on German patent No. 10291122.3, Apr. 29, 2010.
11InData Systems, 441OLDS Hand Held Etched 2D Image Reader,27 Fennell Street, Skaneateles, NY 13152, Internet: www.indatasys.com, Jan. 1, 2005.
12Japanese Patent Office Action, Application No. 2006-536784, pp. 1-9, dated Oct. 6, 2009.
13PCT Search Report, PCT/US2004/034389, pp. 1-18, dated May 2, 2005.
14PCT Search Report, PCT/US2004/034872, pp. 1-19, dated Feb. 24, 2005.
15PCT Search Report, PCT/US2005/044452, pp. 1-6, dated Dec. 16, 2004.
16PCT Search Report, PCT/US2005/044466, pp. 1-15, dated Apr. 12, 2006.
17PCT Search Report, PCT/US2006/041041, pp. 1-8, dated May 25, 2007.
18The International Search Report and Written Opinion of the International Searching Authority, International Application No. PCT/US2006/041041 dated May 25, 2007.
19U.S. Patent Office Ex Parte Quayle Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/019,763, pp. 1-5, dated Apr. 16, 2009.
20U.S. Patent Office Examiner Interview Summary for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, p. 1, dated Dec. 12, 2007.
21U.S. Patent Office Examiner Interview Summary for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-2, dated Nov. 13, 2008.
22U.S. Patent Office Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-10, dated Dec. 1, 2006.
23U.S. Patent Office Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-17, dated Feb. 22, 2008.
24U.S. Patent Office Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/911,989, pp. 1-11, dated Sep. 26, 2007.
25U.S. Patent Office Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/019,763, pp. 1-8, dated Nov. 27, 2007.
26U.S. Patent Office Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-8, dated Sep. 5, 2008.
27U.S. Patent Office Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-9, dated Oct. 4, 2007.
28U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-11, dated Oct. 17, 2008.
29U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-9, dated Dec. 13, 2005.
30U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-9, dated Jul. 26, 2007.
31U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-9, dated Jun. 15, 2006.
32U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-9, dated Jun. 28, 2005.
33U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/911,989, pp. 1-11, dated Feb. 21, 2007.
34U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 10/911,989, pp. 1-11, dated Oct. 17, 2008.
35U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/014,478, pp. 1-8, dated Jan. 24, 2006.
36U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/019,763, pp. 1-6, dated Apr. 11, 2008.
37U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/019,763, pp. 1-7, dated Jun. 12, 2007.
38U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/321,702, pp. 1-7, dated Jun. 25, 2008.
39U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-10, dated Mar. 16, 2007.
40U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-11, dated Nov. 25, 2008.
41U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-7, dated Jan. 7, 2008.
42U.S. Patent Office Non-Final Office Action for U.S. Appl. No. 12/573,402, pp. 1-8, dated May 25, 2010.
43U.S. Patent Office Notice of Allowance for U.S. Appl. No. 10/693,626, pp. 1-7, dated Dec. 21, 2009.
44U.S. Patent Office Notice of Allowance for U.S. Appl. No. 10/911,989, pp. 1-7, dated Jun. 3, 2009.
45U.S. Patent Office Notice of Allowance for U.S. Appl. No. 11/019,763, pp. 1-6, dated Aug. 11, 2009.
46U.S. Patent Office Notice of Allowance for U.S. Appl. No. 11/019,763, pp. 1-6, dated Nov. 5, 2008.
47U.S. Patent Office Notice of Allowance for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-7, dated Dec. 12, 2009.
48U.S. Patent Office Notice of Allowance for U.S. Appl. No. 11/322,370, pp. 1-8, dated Jun. 30, 2009.
49Vision-Supplies.com, Siemens LytePipe 1.5 × 30, 1999.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8342404 *9 Aug 20111 Jan 2013Keyence CorporationIllumination setting support apparatus of optical information reading apparatus
US847999126 Nov 20129 Jul 2013Keyence CorporationIllumination setting support apparatus of optical information reading apparatus
US874007820 Sep 20123 Jun 2014Cognex Technology And Investment CorporationMethod and apparatus for providing omnidirectional lighting in a scanning device
US877048320 Sep 20128 Jul 2014Cognex Technology And Investment CorporationLight pipe illumination system and method
US907003130 Dec 201130 Jun 2015Cognex Technology And Investment LlcIntegrated illumination assembly for symbology reader
US20110080729 *7 Apr 2011Laurens NunninkIntegrated illumination assembly for symbology reader
US20120067957 *9 Aug 201122 Mar 2012Keyence CorporationIllumination Setting Support Apparatus Of Optical Information Reading Apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification235/473, 235/462.06, 235/455
International ClassificationG06K7/10
Cooperative ClassificationG06K7/10732
European ClassificationG06K7/10S4D2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
9 Jan 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: COGNEX TECHNOLOGY AND INVESTMENT CORPORATION, CALI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:NUNNINK, LAURENS;EQUITZ, WILLIAM H.;REEL/FRAME:016989/0154;SIGNING DATES FROM 20051219 TO 20051223
Owner name: COGNEX TECHNOLOGY AND INVESTMENT CORPORATION, CALI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:NUNNINK, LAURENS;EQUITZ, WILLIAM H.;SIGNING DATES FROM 20051219 TO 20051223;REEL/FRAME:016989/0154
6 May 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: COGNEX TECHNOLOGY AND INVESTMENT LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE NAME AND COMPANY IDENTITY OF ASSIGNEE PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 016989 FRAME 0154. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE ASSIGNMENT;ASSIGNORS:NUNNINK, LAURENS;EQUITZ, WILLIAM H.;SIGNING DATES FROM 20051219 TO 20051223;REEL/FRAME:030359/0336
14 May 2013RRRequest for reexamination filed
Effective date: 20130403
7 Jul 2014FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
2 Jun 2015LIMR
Free format text: THE PATENTABILITY OF CLAIMS 1, 2, 12, 25, 30, 31 AND 41 IS CONFIRMED. CLAIMS 23, 28 AND 29 ARE CANCELLED. CLAIMS 3-11, 13-22, 24, 26, 27 AND 32-40 WERE NOT REEXAMINED.